Preview: Leicester v Worcester

Leicester Tigers welcome back Fijian star Seru Rabeni for their Guinness Premiership clash with Worcester at Welford Road on Saturday.

The inclusion of Rabeni is one of four changes to the side who went down at Saracens last week. The others see Scottish second row James Hamilton return in the pack, along with Ben Herring at openside and Benjamin Kayser at hooker.

Leicester are still without their England contingent but still have a wealth of international talent in their ranks.

Mike Ruddock has handed Gavin Quinnell his first start of the season, and he comes in at number eight.

The front row is completely changed as well with Tongan powerhouse hooker Aleki Lutui handed his first league start of the campaign after impressing after coming off the bench against Leeds.

Darren Morris is handed the loosehead prop position against his former club and Tevita Taumoepeau will play at tighthead with Chris Horsman ruled out of action until February after surgery on his damaged arm.

Ruddock has also teamed up Ryan Powell and Loki Crichton as his new half-back pairing and admitted he had been delighted with the form of his new Samoan recruit since he arrived at Sixways Stadium.

“We definitely start with Loki having seen the way he performed against Leeds,” said Ruddock.

“We put him on the bench as he had only just arrived in the country and learned our calls, but when he came on he was composed and showed authority and leadership. I’ve been very impressed with him all week.”

The final change sees lock Will Bowley start in the second row in place of Phil Murphy.

“There is great spirit and morale in the team, I can’t fault the guys in terms of their commitment and desire to get it right,” added Ruddock.

“It’s just about doing things well all the time under pressure, we need to push on starting at Leicester.”

Form: Leicester Tigers tripped up at Saracens on Sunday. The Tigers also lost to Gloucester last time out at Welford Road but have not lost back-to-back matches at home in the Premiership since losing to Sale and Northampton in October 2003. Worcester Warriors are bidding to become just the second bottom placed team to win at Welford Road since Sale did so in September 1999. The Warriors are still searching for that elusive first victory of the season in the Guinness Premiership, and have not won on the road since beating Sale at Edgeley Park on 9 March. In ten previous encounters between the two in all competitions Worcester have won just once, 15-11 at Sixways in November 2005.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Sam Vesty, 11 Seru Rabeni, 10 Paul Burke, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Brett Deacon, 7 Ben Herring, 6 Marco Wentzel, 5 Louis Deacon (c), 4 James Hamilton, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 David Young, 18 Luke Abraham, 19 Jordan Crane, 20 Frank Murphy, 21 Matt Cornwell, 22 Tom Varndell.

Worcester: 15 Shane Drahm, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Mark Tucker, 11 Thinus Delport, 10 Loki Crichton, 9 Ryan Powell, 8 Gavin Quinnell, 7 Pat Sanderson (c), 6 Drew Hickey, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Will Bowley, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Darren Morris.
Replacements: 16 Tony Windo, 17 Ben Gotting, 18 Phil Murphy, 19 Kai Horstmann, 20 Matt Powell, 21 James Brown, 22 Miles Benjamin.

Date: Saturday 20 October, 2007
Kick off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Dave Pearson
Touch judges: Ashley Reay , Andrew Watson
Assessor: Brian Leigh
Television match official: Matt Peters


365 Digital

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